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Have you ever read a story with a setting so rich, it felt almost as if the setting was a character itself?
Some authors seem to have an innate talent for creating vivid settings. The streets feel alive, the woods seem to sing with wildlife and native flora and fauna. In fantasy settings, the readers find themselves immersed in the magical world, wholly able to believe in the strange physics of the new world.
But some of us need a little more help. When I wrote my first novel, I sent it to a trusted friend to read. She said, “I love your characters, but I feel they could have been set down anywhere and the story would be exactly the same.”
She was right.
I did have characters living in a specific city, but there was no reason for it. I didn’t mention the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of the city. I didn’t write about the unique texture that makes up that location. I simply placed my character there for lack of anywhere else to put them.
Creating a vivid setting is imperative to engage readers, but how do you do that if it doesn’t seem to come naturally?
Here are some tips to help you write great settings:
As with anything else, creating a rich setting is all about author intention. How do you want your characters to feel about where they live, and how does that specific location affect the events of the story?
Making intentional decisions about your setting and using vivid details to bring it to life will give readers more than just a story about people—it will give them a new world populated with people they want to know. Let your setting breathe and draw your readers into your worlds, both real and imagined.
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